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  • The Arabs of Palestine have always nurtured a strategy to avoid negotiating a peace deal with the Israelis; and it is that they won’t negotiate at all unless Israel meets so many Palestinian preconditions that the map from which they and their Arab neighbors launched their wars would be completely restored in advance of talks.
  • For nearly 20 years (1948-1967), the world sat quite comfy with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with help from the local Arabs, having occupied and then destroyed the entire ancient Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. All of “east Jerusalem” was governed by King Abdullah I, who made sure that no glory attached to what we are now endlessly told is the third holiest city in Islam.
  • So long as the Palestinians refuse to negotiate there will be less to negotiate about. Israel is a dynamic society. It cannot, it will not wait for the Arabs of Palestine to adjust to reality. Take the new construction announced by the Israelis for Ariel, 11 miles east of the Green Line. The city is 33 years old and has 18,000 inhabitants. It boasts a university with 11,000 students, of whom close to 1,000 are Arab. Now, 277 housing units will be built.
  • There are certain principles regarding Jerusalem that cannot be ignored. The first of these is that this tiny place is the heart of Jewish history. The second is that the city is also the heart of Christian history. Together this goes back three millennia to King David. Indeed, the denial of the epochal past of Jews and Christians is not worthy of the Muslims who recognize it in the Koran. Remember, if there was no Jewish temple, there was no Jesus, and the entire history of Christianity collapses.
  • The major impediment to moving on is actually the relentless psychodrama about new Israeli construction in the territories which is little and far between. Shame on the administration for going into hysterics over a few hundred apartments in a Jewish neighborhood that was founded in 1973 and already has 40,000 residents.

(Martin Peretz – New Republic)

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